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Esports Overwatch

The Gauntlet: Introducing RunAway

To casual fans of the professional scene and hardcore Contenders aficionados alike, few stories shine brighter than RunAway’s. The tale of the scrappy, pink-clad self-starters who rose through the ranks of Contenders Korea has become an especially beloved chapter in Overwatch’s history. At every level, 2019 has been an excellent year for the RunAway organization. The former roster moved up into the Overwatch League and became the Vancouver Titans before proceeding to shatter records all season long. The current iteration of RunAway, meanwhile, found success in their own right.

As the champions of Korean Contenders Season 2, RunAway locked in an early spot in the finals bracket. Along with North America’s ATL Academy, they wait for group stages to decide who they first face off against. While they wait, it’s the perfect time to take a look at who RunAway are and how they got here.

RunAway: A Brief History

RunAway’s history runs alongside the history of professional Overwatch itself. The brainchild of Dae-hoon “Runner” Yoon, who built the team with his own expenses, the team has competed in some form since 2016. After a shaky start in season 1 of APEX, they regrouped to face season 2 with a new vigor. This time, they come in second place, falling to Lunatic-Hai’s powerhouse roster. Though they don’t take the crown this time, they’ve made a name for themselves that will carry them forward.

Courtesy of RunAway on Twitter.

As RunAway grows over the years, many future big names come and go. Two of them, Woo-yeol “Kalios” Shin and Kyung-woo “CoMa” Son, eventually make it to the Overwatch League. In late 2017, however, RunAway’s future is called into question when Runner leaves for his mandatory military service. His wife and fellow team manager, Hyun Ah “Flowervin” Lee, takes over in his stead, allowing the team to keep pushing forward.

After emerging as the champions of Contenders 2018 Season 2, the entirety of the RunAway roster joins the Overwatch League, becoming the Vancouver Titans. They spend the 2019 season proving that they are in fact OWL-caliber, finishing the regular season with a 25-3 record and handily making it to Grand Finals, where they fell to the San Francisco Shock.

The departure of the 2018 RunAway made way for a new crop of players, who made a name for themselves in their own right. They became the champions of Contenders 2018 Season 3 and finished Contenders 2019 Season 1 with a 6-1 record before falling to O2 Blast in the semifinals. After finishing Season 2 with a 4-3 record, they rallied for playoffs, defeating Element Mystic to take that coveted finals spot at The Gauntlet.

The Players

Courtesy of RunAway on Twitter.

RunAway currently utilizes a seven-man roster that quickly picked up where their predecessors left off. Leading the DPS line is Hee-su “Heesu” Jeong, one of the first additions to the roster after the current Titans’ departure. Heesu has proven to be well-rounded, but he especially excels on hitscan heroes. Joining him is Genji specialist Sung-won “Assassin” Kim. Assassin joined RunAway in May after competing with GEEKSTAR. Rounding out the team’s DPS lineup, Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim often plays projectile heroes, although he’s proven to flex successfully when he needs to. Though Yaki is RunAway’s latest addition, he’s a seasoned veteran in the professional scene despite his young age. Prior to joining the team, he competed with MVP Space and fellow Gauntlet competitor XL2 Academy.

The aptly-named Jae-gon “LeeJaeGon” Lee and Nam-jin “Gangnamjin” make up RunAway’s support duo. RunAway picked up both in October of 2018 as part of their rebuild. For flex support Gangnamjin, RunAway is his first foray into professional Overwatch. Main support LeeJaeGon, meanwhile, has competed with organizations since early 2018.

Rounding out the roster is RunAway’s tank line, made up of Tae-sung “Mag” Kim and Sung-jun “QoQ” Yu. Like the support line, both players joined the team in October of 2018, just in time for the previous roster to move up to the Overwatch League. Mag, the team’s main tank, excels on Reinhardt and Winston, while off-tank QoQ specializes in D.Va and Zarya.

The Bracket

The two finalist teams, and their potential opponents. Courtesy of RunAway on Twitter.

As the top-seeded team from Korea’s Contenders region, RunAway enjoyed the privilege of skipping group stages altogether. They and ATL Academy currently wait in the finals bracket, while the remaining eight teams duke it out in two groups. RunAway’s first match of The Gauntlet will be against whoever comes out on top in Group B, made up of Team Envy, Gladiators Legion, Gen.G Esports, and LGE.Huya. As expected of competitors in The Gauntlet, all four teams are strong in their own right. Team Envy and Gen.G completed their divisions with 7-0 and 6-1 records, respectively, while LGE.Huya took decisive wins in Chinese Contenders playoffs. Gladiators Legion, meanwhile, put up a good showing in playoffs despite a lackluster 2-5 record for the season. No matter who they face out of the group, RunAway will need to perform well against them in order to reach finals.

Fortunately for them, they get a second shot if they do lose in semifinals. Both semifinals losers enter the losers’ bracket in round two, giving them an opportunity to fight back up to Gauntlet finals. Considering their performance so far this year, RunAway has a solid chance to come out on top against nearly every other team in The Gauntlet, and it seems likely that they’ll reach finals one way or another.

The Journey to the Throne

It’s been an exciting year to be a RunAway fan through the ups and the downs. After securing such a safe spot in The Gauntlet, the team can keep an eye on group stages and prepare in full for whoever might come out on the other side. If they remain focused and prepared for any surprises that their opponents might throw their way, RunAway has a good chance to finish out the year with another championship under their belts.

Stay Connected

Follow Darby on Twitter @soundchecck! She is happy to talk about anything she’s written! You can also get in touch with her on Discord (soundchecck#7242).

Featured image courtesy of RunAway on Twitter.

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